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How Can I Learn to Make Friends?

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From a young woman in Dubai: From when I was a kid I always felt really shy whenever anyone asked me to perform or talk in front of a crowd. From my school and even now in university, I always tremble and shake whenever I have to give a presentation or talk in front of the class. My hands and legs shake, my voice wavers and I keep shivering all throughout. I try my best to avoid any of it. I just feel like this holds me back from achieving whatever I want and it’s just really a hindrance.

I always feel so lonely, at home and at university. I have one best friend and she stays in a different country and so I don’t have anyone else to hangout with. I don’t have friends at uni and I don’t know how to make friends. Everyone seems to just mingle with each other and they have their own group of friends, I don’t fit in there.

I feel judged even when I have to go up to ask them something. I don’t have anyone to talk to. I am on my summer vacation right now and I feel so alone because there’s no one I have to talk to and it’s so boring. I feel so sad. No one likes me enough to talk to me or spend time with me. It just interferes a lot with my mental health.

My parents always expect me to be responsible and perfect at everything. And it’s just so discouraging when they start yelling about how I won’t be a good wife or how I’d ruin a house before I start building one. All of this is just takes a toll on me and I just feel like I’m worthless

How Can I Learn to Make Friends?

Answered by on -

A.

I’m very glad you wrote. You are not at all alone. Many kids are anxious when they have to talk in front of class. Sensitive teachers find ways to help their students become more comfortable. Sadly, not everyone gets such help.

They may believe they are motivating you by yelling but they are only making you feel worse. In response, you have added self-criticism to their criticism. You don’t believe in yourself so you don’t think others will believe in you either. The result is a low self-esteem that makes it difficult to want to even try.

Although I understand completely why you might want to isolate yourself to avoid the pain, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. When a person with low self-esteem isolates, they become more and more stuck. The way out of this is to start taking small steps to be with other people so you can gain some confidence in yourself.

It’s common for people to think that they can’t do anything until they feel better. Actually, it works the other way. You will feel better if you start to do things to feel good about.

One way to get started is to take the focus off making friends. Instead, focus on doing something that matters to you. Join a club or sport or volunteer effort where people your age are working together to make something happen. Put your attention on doing well as a member. When working together, people get to know each other gradually. Friendships are likely to grow out of it if you are patient.

If you continue to feel so anxious, I do suggest seeing a therapist. A therapist can hear your whole story and make more specific suggestions. You will also have some ongoing support as you work to make changes.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

How Can I Learn to Make Friends?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Can I Learn to Make Friends?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/10/22/how-can-i-learn-to-make-friends/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 21 Oct 2019 (Originally: 22 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 21 Oct 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.